One of the things that’s bugged me over the past couple weeks has been all the digital ink being spilled on the “transformation” of Matthew McConaughey from shirtless heart-throb to “serious actor” over the past couple years. The narrative has been of McConaughey growing as an actor and taking better projects, et al, and somehow this has helped him recapture the narrative that he was the next Paul Newman after Dazed and Confused, of course. It’s an easy story to write because McConaughey has gone from being in nothing but awful projects to chasing prestige.
We want McConaughey to have some sort of grand re-imagining of his career because it’s an easy story to write and tales of redemption are more popular than the truth sometimes. Unfortunately the truth is a lot more complicated than McConaughey merely trying to realign the stars in his favor. He’s Oscar-chasing as a way of trying to erase the past and give himself a sense of credibility lacking in his career to this point. He’s Jim Carrey with a twang and an impressive body fat percentage trying to get people to take him seriously as an actor, nothing more, and we should look at it as pandering to the highest order.
If this was any other actor we’d kind of laugh this in some ways. But we want the guy who did Failure to Launch and a 100 romantic comedies with any number of interchangeable blonde actresses to have aspirations of grandeur. It’s similar to Ben Affleck’s rise from the ashes in a lot of ways. Mainly it comes down to one guiding principle.
We want actors to be artists, not stars, but often times in order to become the former you have to first become the latter.
That’s the one problem with modern Hollywood; you have to make a choice early on whether you want to pursue the fame, et al, that comes with being a movie star or if you want to prove yourself as an artist and pursue that route. It’s the failing of the current system; picking projects has now become a pathway as opposed to something that happened more organically.
There’s a reason why the next generation of Hollywood isn’t good enough to headline films of their own, needing comic book origins or franchises, whereas other generations can. Robert De Niro never needed a gimmick to be taken seriously as both an artist and as a draw; that’s the problem these days. It’s why someone like McConaughey has to take an active choice as to pursue money & fame against artistic credibility.
Being the guy who takes his shirt off has made him rich beyond his wildest dreams. Being Ron Woodroof might garner him an Oscar. The failing of modern Hollywood is the inability of the artist being able to be sold on merit alone.
Stuff for General George S. Pimpage, Esq
From elsewhere in the Inside Pulse Network:
Travis wrote about Matthew McConaughey and Dallas Buyers Club
Brendan Campbell whipped out his hammer in public to talk about the Thor sequel
And now on MMC … we DANCE!
If you want to pimp anything email it to me with a good reason why. It helps to bribe me with stuff, just saying ….
A Movie A Week – The Challenge
This Week’s DVD – Ong-Bak
There are two types of people in this world. Those who’ve seen Ong-Bak … and those who need to.
It’s got a simple premise. The deity of a local village has had his head stolen by some criminals. Ting (Tony Jaa) is tasked from his country village to find his cousin Humlae (Petchtai Wongkamlao) and retrieve it. Along the way … violent shenanigans ensue. The film has two main style of scenes; Tony Jaa “acting” … and Tony Jaa kicking ass.
The former is dull. Jaa is a horrible actor, not quite Channing Tatum level bad but close. It’s cringe worthy at times when he’s on the screen but I’ll give him credit: he’s surrounded by equally horrible actors and thus he kind of fits in to the general awfulness of the film. This isn’t an actor’s film though. This is a martial arts film, first.
And that’s where the awesome comes in. Jaa is exceptional and this is a no CGI/wires/camera tricks type of film. He does his own stunts, too, and when the film gets into action mode it’s a fun film.
What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club
The Best Man Holiday – Characters from The Best Man have shenanigans further down the road.
Skip it – Didn’t see the first film, nothing about the sequel makes me want to see it.
Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .
Tags: Ben Affleck, matthew mcconaughey, Monday Morning Critic, Ong Bak, Tony Jaa